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Ask the Trainer: Protein

By Billy Locke
Published: Monday, May 04, 2009, at 02:15PM

Hey everybody, don’t let up now. There are only 49 more days until summer. Time is ticking and now is the moment for getting into the most amazing shape of your life. If you are already there try a new form of exercise that you have never tried before and set new fitness goals. Having and working towards definable workout goals will help keep you directed and motivated.

Trainer Tip

This week’s Ask the Trainer question was from Timothy who asked, “Between eggs, whey and soy, which protein source do you recommend for building muscle?”

Thank you for the question Timothy. My short answer would have to be, none of the above. Lets take a more in-depth look at protein to answer this question.

Proteins are defined as large, complex, organic compounds consisting of amino acids that are arranged in a linear chain and joined together by peptide bonds. There are 20 different amino acids broken down into essential and non-essential amino acids. We are required to provide the essential amino acids through our diets. The body can synthesize the non-essential amino acids itself.

A protein is said to be complete when it contains all of the essential amino acids but does not have to contain all the non-essential amino acids. Meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, milk, hempseed, soybean, quinoa, spirulina and buckwheat are all considered complete protein containing foods.

The quality of a protein is determined by its protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) or its biological value. PDCAAS is a method of evaluating the protein quality based on the amino acid requirements of humans and is used to measure the "completeness" of a protein with the highest score of 1.0. The PDCAAS rating was adopted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) as "the preferred 'best'" method to determine protein quality (vs. the previously used biological value).

To make short of a very long-winded discussion, the manufacturers of the different types of protein supplements all claim that their source of protein is superior. Some of these proteins include whey-protein isolates, soy-protein isolates, egg white powder, casein, and hemp.

On the PDCAAS scales, whey, soy, egg and casein all score the maximum level of a 1.0. Hemp scores the lowest with .46, but I don't believe that accurately reflects the true nature of all of its attributes.

Hemp Protein

Hemp protein is my choice as the best protein for building muscle and promoting overall health. Hemp’s nutrient density is greater than all other protein powders and it is packed with bio-available enzymes and good bacteria, which facilitate the conversion of amino acids to muscle.

  • A complete protein, hemp contains all 20 of the essential and non-essential amino acids needed to build muscle.
  • Hemp is easily digestible because of its bio-available enzymes, unlike its heat-treated or highly processed rivals.
  • Hemp helps to maintain a healthy alkaline pH blood level due to its chlorophyll content (high acidic levels disrupt nutrient absorption).
  • Organic hemp contains no artificial additives or chemicals (unlike whey).
  • Has the optimal ratio of essential fatty acids omega 6 and omega 3 (3:1) which may reduce the effects of coronary heart disease.
  • Hemp is high in fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels, diminish hunger cravings and cleanses the intestine promoting increased nutrient absorption.
  • Hemp is high in cancer fighting antioxidants

Hemp's overall health benefits coupled with its increased protein absorption rate make it a powerhouse for promoting muscle growth and greater overall health. You can find it at most natural foods stores. Compare the labels of each brand before choosing the one that you purchase. The protein contents vary and not all of them are organic.

Check back next Friday as we answer another email from

Til next time—Exercise More, Play Hard, Work Smart.

Billy Locke

Extreme Natural Fitness Trainer


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